2008/9 Indoor Comp: Sharks v YFK
Who needs 20-20 when the Ichihara Sharks play indoor? The clash of top of the indoor food chain, Sharks, versus bottom-dwelling YFK looked on paper to be a no-contest: that is certainly was not. Do not be surprised to see the car park full of TV vans for the finals because anything could happen.
The game welcomed back big-hitting Prasant and the elusive Brett to add to Markus, Nikhil and Kris B. Bowling ace, Navin, was a late withdrawal, unfortunately. We also had our own cheer squad, with Markus’ family and both Nikhil and Prasant brings friends to watch. The Shark legend is obviously growing!
Captain Markus won the toss yet again for the Sharks and YFK invited to bat. We initially tried to round up Taka to cover for Navin but he was involved in another game. We then refused any sub, Sharks be somewhat insular creatures, but one keen fella almost seemed to decide it for us by leaping into the fray/net. Prasant had YFK in early strife with some wickets bowled, but their opening pair began to regularly chip it around square of the wicket. And while we appreciated the effort of our sub he did ‘go’ for a bit, unfortunately, with some Harmison-type wides, a few gentle lobs and he was not helped by a bit of shoddy work at the back of the net (this author’s apologies)! We had to work very hard to winkle out the limpet-like YFK batsmen. We kept it pretty tight (not helped, though by some dubious wides) but with a couple of sudden willowy flails toward the end YFK finished up with 63. Now that SHOULD have been a fairly gettable total for us, but we can no longer ignore the recent Shark tendency the live life on the razor’s edge! More like one of those three-blade jobbies! Those still with weakened hearts from last week’s effort should perhaps read no further!
Nikhil and our intrepid sub took the first block of overs and it was not long before we realised this would be no paddle in the shallows. The opening YFK bowlers were quite zippy and keeping it just short of a length from around the wicket. It was hard to get it away for anything more than singles. With that came the risks and a few run outs here and there saw us only 8 runs on the board.
Kris B and Brett were the next pair, facing a new bowler who sort of looked like he was delivering the ball underwater. This saw both batsmen play horrible sloggy-looking things that eventually saw the ball go more or less straight up in the air, then off a couple of nets and end up in the quite surprised ‘keeper’s gloves. A runout here, a stumping there and this was not looking like much fun at all! They somehow got it together to end up on 33 at the end of four overs.
Thirty-one to get and for a second week in a row Markus faced a bit of a sticky situation. With power-partner Chris missing he was joined by Prasant. They started off a bit shakily but keep hitting bonus parts of the net and added to the total with some slick running between the wickets. The score kept on creeping up so that we needed 6 runs from the last over. Six for six. Now. Here is where the Shark idea of ‘fun’ starts. The first few balls saw us safely past the required total – needing 64 we were 67 with three balls to go. Now, by nature, sharks are quite curious beasties. They will generally have a bit of a nibble at something … or someone. If they don’t like the feel of you, off they swim looking for a more succulent seal or something, and with 50 or 60 stitches and a massive blood transfusion you’ll be up and about, eventually. But if they LIKE you, count your fingers and other appendages before you lose consciousness! Seems the Ichihara Shark species wanted a few more chunks of YFK! One scorcher was bobbled at the back net but somehow gathered and down went the stumps. -5 made it 2 to get in 2. Bang again, and it’s put down off the net! De ja vue for the Kashiwa faithful and the comp organisers are convinced we are doing this on purpose! One ball, one run. Hoick! And third time lucky – no! Yet another chance is synthetically grassed and the runners are safely home. Magic Man Markus, again, and Prasant see us through. Sharks make it three wins by one run! Someone kindly restarts my heart. Prasant picked up another MVP.
One can’t help but feel that we have exhausted our run of luck, or maybe it is just our indomitable self-belief that makes the opposing team players field like they have had their hands bitten off at the wrists! Also tonight saw all-female Team Mach lose again, this time to MAX. This means that the Ichihara Sharks will be on top of the ladder. Minor premiers! Yay!
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